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they can no longer view as those of Christ's house. But besides this, there was another species of persecution carried on in certain quarters. Thirteen families had been ejected from one property, without any known, or, he believed, assignable cause, except their adherence to the Free Church. The people, he was glad to say, are in general true to their principles; but there were a few who had sold themselves for worldly gain; and this suggested the fearful responsibility of those who were thus ruining souls. He could say much on this subject, but was unwilling farther to occupy the time of the Assembly.
Rev. Mr Gray of Perth said, they had had their share of persecution in the Presbytery of Perth. Among others, the parish of Forgandenny had been exposed to much hardship. A large body of the parishioners went out with their excellent minister, but no site could be procured for a church. Not one of the proprietors would give an inch of ground for the purpose. But it was found there was a patch of ground occupied by a life-renter, for a quarter of an acre of which they had to pay the high sum of seven guineas a-year. And he might mention, as showing the bitter spirit of their opponents, that while building the church, sand was taken from a place to which it was assumed they had a right; but the parties were apprehended by order of the Fiscal of the county, and tried for theft before the Sheriff. The attempt, however, failed, and the parties were acquitted,-it being proved that from time immemorial all parties were accustomed to take sand from the place. Mr Gray then proceeded to describe the difficulties the ministers experienced in getting a house to live in, and referred to the unsuccessful attempts which had been made to get a piece of ground on which to build a manse, from the Noble Lord who is the proprietor of a great part of the parish. The Presbytery had taken up the subject, and had corresponded with his Lordship. This correspondence Mr Gray read, and was as follows: Copy Letter from the Free Presbytery of Perth to Lord Ruthven.
“]st May 1841. “ MY LORD,- The Preshytery of Perth, in connection with the Free Church, beg most respectfully to address your Lordship with reference to their brother, the Rev. James Drummond, and their adherents in the parish of Forgandenny, who are under Mr Drummond's pastoral charge.
" When, nearly a year ago, Mr Drummond, as your Lordship is aware, was constrained, by a conscientious feeling, to resign the temporal benefits of the Establishment, he believed, in common with many othér ministers, that he was bound by solemn obligations, from which man could not release him, to continue in the spiritual charge of the flock entrusted to him by the Great Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. Finding that a very large proportion of the parishioners of Forgandenny were resolved to cleave to his ministry, and that the pastoral tie between him and them therefore remained unbroken, he devoted himself with all his heart to the promotion of their spiritual interests, watching for their souls as one that had to give an account. Your Lordship knows that during the greater part of the summer, he and his partner had but one small room in a thatched cottage to live in, and that even that accommodation, humble and inadequate as it was, could not be had for any length of time. Every effort to procure a permanent lodging of any sort within the parish failed, and they were at length obliged, on the approach of winter, to remove to Pitkaithly, where they were kindly received by Mr Lennie of the Wells. They are still at Pitkaithly; but the disadvantage of being away from the people is so great, and the expense, which must be incurred under present circumstances, is so far beyond what they can afford, that it has become essential to have another and more suitable residence. It is proposed that a manse be built for Mr Drummond. As this is in itself perhaps the best, so it is the only way in which the exigency can be met. It is with reference to a site for a house to Mr Drummond that we now take the liberty of addressing your Lordship.
The Presbytery do not pretend to be ignorant that your Lordship has already been applied to on this subject, and that you have not hitherto seen it your duty to accede to the wishes of Mr Drummond and his friends. Nor is it for the purpose
of vexing or dunning your Lordship that they venture to offer a renewed representa. tion of the case. But they think that there are views of a religious nature, connect. ed with this matter, which the respect they have all been accustomed to entertain for your Lordships' Christian character induces them to hope may exercise a favourable influence on your final determination regarding it. They desire to submit to your Lordship that Mr Drummond, although no longer a minister belonging to the Establishment, is still a servant and ambassador of the Lord Jesus, and that it will require to be very clear indeed that his Divine Master has no farther work for hini at Forgandenny, and disapproves of his continuance in his present sphere, before it can be warrantable to refuse bim the means of residing among bis people. If it be the case that Christ is still owning his servant, that our bro:her's prayers are still heard, and that his ministry is still blessed for the salvation of his hearers; if it be the case that, while the change in outward circumstances has been great and trying to him, there is no change, so far as the promised presence of Christ, and the promised effusion of the Spirit's grace, are concerned, but that the Saviour is still in the midst when the congregation assembles, and God's Holy Spirit has not been taken away; if it cannot be denied, as we are persuaded, my Lord, it cannot truly be, that Mr Drummond is still honoured as an instrument of edifying believers and of turning sinners to God, and that He to whom the earth belongs, with all its sul. ness, does, by these plain tokens, indicate Forgandeniny as the accepted field of our brother's labours,-is it then, we earnestly ask, for those to whom Providence has given power over the soil, to use their power against Mr Drummond, and to decree that no spot shall be granted to harbour him? My Lord, it is an awful responsibility that they incur. To stop or obstruct the ministry which is blessed by Christ is no light thing. We are sure your Lordship will not think it so. my Lord, to say, that we learn from the Scripture that a refusal 10 tolerate a disciple or a minister whom Christ acknowledges, is, in so far, a refusal to tolerate Christ himself. “ Insomuch as ye did it to one of the least of these, ye did it unto me."
• What we solicit at the hands of your Lordship is toleration, and nothing more. We ask not that you approve of our principles. We seek no gifts, either of money or of land. Your Lordship is well entitled to your own conscientious opinion, and it were unreasonable and unjust to expect you to favour a system or a Church which you feel it your duty to condemn. Our petition is simply, that you will be pleased to tolerate our communion on your estate. For the ground which Mr Drummond needs he and his friends are willing to pay the value of it. To allow us a site upon this footing, we must urge, is toleration, and nothing beyond it. Let your Lordship but consider what the consequence would be, if all the land. lords and proprietors of the country were to resolve not to give sites either for places of worship or manses, except to the Established Church alone. This is what all have a right to do, if one bas a right to do it. Suppose then that all were to do it, where would be tbe religous liberty of the nation? The inference we draw is, that in selling or leasing a piece of land to any Christian congregation for a pro. per return, a man is not to be reckoned as compromising his own religious belief, but is merely conforming to the great constitutional law of toleration under wbicb all the property in Britain is held.
“ My Lord, what farther shall we say? Shall we add, that the members of our Church, who belong to Forgandenny, are resolved, through grace, to cleave to their principles, and adhere to the communion of their choice, whatever the inconveniences and losses to which they may be exposed in so doing? We believe they will be firm. We are persuaded it is in vain to think that they will be estranged from the cause they have espoused, wben they find that that cause is frowned upon. Not in that way will they be regained to the fellowship of the Establishment. It is a matter of conscience, Lord, with them, as well as with their pastor. We mention this to your Lordship, because it really increases the strength of their claim. The accommodation they seek for to their minister would be the less necessary, if the tie that unites them to bim were a weak one, and there were a prospect that they would soon or lightly forsake the Free Church. There is no such prospect. Rather than violate their conscientious persuasion, some of them, as your Lordship possibly may know, have already preferred to be dismissed from the service of their employers; and by the spirit wbich these bave shown, the general body is animated.
“ We know that your Lordship will do what you deem right, irrespective of the conduct of others. But we trust we may be permitted to refer to the fact that Lord Aberdeen, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Seafield, with other noblemen and gentlemen of similar views, bave given, and that the Duke of Sutherland is now giving, sites for churches and manses to their Free Church tenants, as affording, in a matter of this kind, some presumption that it may be right for your Lordship to grant our request.
“ The Presbytery, my Lord, have now done their duty. Looking to Him who hath the hearts of all inen in His hand, to turn them whithersoever he will, we leave the case of Forgandenny with your Lordship. Should our application not succeed, it will have to be considered whether our people, relying on that gracious Providence who has done so much for us in time past, ought not to build a dwelling for their minister on the ground attached to the Forgandenny Free Church, frail as the tenure of that ground is; but we cling to the hope that your Lordship, on full and mature deliberation, may find yourself at liberty to fill the hearts of Christ's servant and his attached people with joy, and gratitude, by acceding to their desire.
“ Soliciting the honour of an answer when your Lordship's convenience allows, we are, my Lord, with great respect, your Lordsbip's obedient bumble servants, the ministers and elders of the Free Presbytery of Perth. “ Signed in name, and by appointment of the Presbytery,
JAMES GRIERSON, Free Church of Errol, Moderator. The Right Hon. Lord Ruibven.
“ WINTON, 7th May 1844. “ MY DEAR SIR,- I have received your letter, and can assure you, with perfect sincerity, that if I could conscientiously have acceded to the request you now make I would bave done so long ago with much pleasure.
“ Permit me to add, that I do not quite understand why it is so important that the manse should be on a more secure tenure than the church. I am, dear Sir, your faithful servant,
“ RUTHVEN." Mr Gray resumed.-- Lord Ruthven spoke of his conscience. It was no new thing for the Church of Christ to suffer at the hands of those who made conscience the excuse for what they did. The Jews thought it their duty to persecute and slay the early disciples, and his Lordship thought it bis duty to practise intolerance against the Free Church, and his conscience compelled bim to withhold religious liberty from his tenants. The Assembly would observe that the Noble Lord said that he did not understand why the tenure in the case of the manse should be more secure than it was in the case of the church. He really was astonished that Lord Ruthven had allowed bimself to make such a remark. The Assembly, he believed, would be equally surprised when he told them that it was Lord Ruthven, and Lord Ruthven alone, that was to blame for the insecurity attaching to the tenure of the ground on which the Forgandenny Free Church stood. That ground belonged to Lord Ruthven. The life-renter from whom Mr Drummond and his people had ob. tained it was a tenant of his Lordship. And not only had Lord Ruthven refused to give bis concurrence and sanction to the leasing of the ground to the Free Church; but, after it had been leased without his concurrence, and it was resolved to run all hazards and build the church, be (Lord Ruthven) caused an action to be raised against the life. renter for the reduction of his lease, and for preventing the erection from going on. It was under these circumstances that the Noble Lord said that he “ did not quite understand why it is so important that the manse should be on a more secure tenure than the church.” (Cries of shame, shame.) He (Mr Gray) believed that the manse would be built, and that, since Lord Ruthven would not relent, the people would proceed to raise a house for their pastor on the life-renter's ground, and commit the future to a merciful Providence. He might mention that, since he en. tered the Assembly that very evening, three sovereigns had been put into his hands for the Forgandenny manse. And it was an interesting fact, that they were partly
contributed, and partly collected, by a person now residing in England, who had beeri
ACCOUNTS OF THE CHURCH.
L.133,000 0 0 Central
92,000 0 0 Sustentation
68,000 0 0 Collections at church doors
40,000 0 0
333,000 0 0
1500 0 0
L 4942 19 2
Education, including college, library, &c.
13,432 18 8%
31,790 13 3
L.368,613 14 Mr Bridges added, that if they took into account the L.52 000 subscribed for Ms Macdonald's scheme, the sum total would be upwards of L 420,000.
The Assembly called for the report of the committee on the
REPRESENTATION OF THE ASSEMBLY.
Dr Clason gave in the following :
“ In regard to the representation of the Assembly, your Committee have no suggestions to make in the meantime, except the following:—' That the Theological Professors in Edinburgh be constituted into a Theological Faculty, with power to return representatives from their number, in the same proportion as a Presbytery, consisting of the same number of ministers, returns clerical representatives:
That a similar rule be followed in any other theological college that may hereafter be established in any other part of the king lom,—and this without prejudice to the right of the Principal and Professors to sit in the inferior judicatories of the church, and to represent their presbyteries in the General Assembly. And that, in the meantime, Dr Black of Aberdeen be constituted as a member of the Edinburgh Theological Faculty.
" In regard to the right of Sir David Brewster to a seat in the Presbytery of St Andrews, as Principal of St Leonard's College, your Committee are of opinion, that that matter should be remitted for the consideration of the Presbytery of St Andrews, and that they be authorised to admit the Principal as one of their number, should they see good cause for doing so. “ Pataick Clason, Convener." The Assembly called for the committee's report on
SYNODICAL AND PRESBYTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS. The following report on the subject was given in by Mr Begg, and approved of :
“On the suggestion of the Committee for the Plantation of Charges, your Committee recommend the Assembly to revive the Presbytery of Langholm, said Presbytery to consist of the ministers of Kirkpatrick Fleming, Langholin, Canobie, and Hall. morton, but this arrangement not to take effect until a minister is settled in Canobie. “On the application of Mr Brydon of Dunscore, your Committee recommend that that charge be re annexed to the Presbytery of Dumfries, but that in the meantime Mr Brydon be allowed to act as assessor in the Presbytery of Penpont.
“ In consequence of an oversight on the part of last Assembly, your Committee recommend that the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr send two ministers and two elders as corresponding members to the Synod of Dumfries, and vice versa.
“ The Committee recommend that the Presbyteries of Aberdeen and Elgin be united in terms of Act of Assembly 20th May 1814, instead of being separated as by Act of Assembly October 1813.
“ Your Committee recommend to the Assembly to comply with the petitions of the Synods of Moray and Galloway, and also with the Presbytery of Dunkeld.
“ James Begg, Convener."
The following overture on this subject was then read :: “ It is humbly overtured to the General Assembly, by the conveners of the Assembly's committee on Sabbath observance, and by the under-mentioned conveners of Sabbath committees appointed by the Synods of the Church,
“ That, following up the principles ever held by the Church of Scotland, and of new declared by the present Assembly, that the observance of the Lord's day is a matter of perpetual religious and moral obligation, and earnestly desirous to impress this practically on the mind and conscience of the people, the General Assembly do agree that twice in each year, and on the same days throughout the country, sermons shall be preached at one or other of the diets of public worship on the Lord's day, in exposition and enforcement of the principle and observances of the Sabbath.day ; and that confession shall be made of past and present sins in relation to this matter, and prayer offered for the further promotion of a boly and religious observance of the day throughout the land.
“ And that, with a view to the raising of the funds necessary for the advancement of this cause, it be recommended that a collection be made at the first monthly prayer meeting in each congregation, to be held after the first sermon, to be paid over to ihe Rev. John Jaffray, 7 North St Andrew Street, after defraying Synodical expenses.
“ That the period for the above services in the present year shall be the first Sabbaths of February and August, being the period of the half-yearly meetings of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Company, on whose decisions in the matter of Sabbath observance the sermons so to be preached may, by the blessing of God, have an influence, bearing, as these decisions will intimately do, on the observance of the Sabbatb in all those parts of the country which are about to be traversed by railway lines.
“ Robert ELDER, Convener.
JAMES BRIDGES, Lothian and Tweeddale.
Alex. Thomson, convener for Synod of Aberdeen." It was agreed that the ministers of the Church should be instructed to call the attention of their several congregations to this subject at least once a-year; and that this year the first Sabbath of February should be appointed for that purpose.
STANDING ORDERS. The following report from the committee of standing orders was given in and approved of ;